Osteoporosis and Bone Density – What You Need to Know and How to Exercise
There is a ton of information out there concerning osteoporosis and bone density, but many of us aren’t exactly familiar with these terms. So, let’s start with some basic definitions.
What Is Bone Density?
Bone density is a measure of the amount of calcium and other minerals in a segment of your bones. A higher mineral content indicates a higher bone density and strength. A lower mineral content indicates the onset, or probability, of osteoporosis.
What Does ‘Osteo’ Mean?
The term ‘osteo’ comes from the Greek word Osteon and refers to the bones of the body. There are many forms of osteo ailments:
- Osteoarthritis – a condition where the cartilage within the joint breaks down, causing pain and stiffness.
- Osteomalacia – the bones become soft, due to problems with the metabolism of vitamin D.
- Osteoporosis – the bones lose mass and become brittle increasing the probability of fractures.
Any of the above conditions can affect the proper functioning of the associated muscles.
Bone Is Living Tissue
As we age, the structure of bone changes and this results in loss of bone tissue. Low bone mass means bones are weaker, and this puts people at risk of breaks or fractures from a bump or fall.
Bones become less dense as we age for a number of reasons, including:
- An inactive lifestyle which can cause bone wastage.
- menopause and the decline of oestrogen triggers the loss of minerals in bone tissue.
- Over time, bones lose calcium and other minerals.
What Can I Do to Help Myself?
Here are 7 things you can do to not lose your bone mass.
- Eat a wide variety of colourful foods like fruit and vegetables which are high in vitamins and minerals.
- Keep hydrated to keep the tissue and bones in your body lubricated and healthy.
- Have your Vitamin D level checked regularly and take supplements if required.
- Weight bearing exercise can make bones stronger and help slow the rate of bone loss.
- Older people can increase muscle mass and strength through muscle strengthening activities.
- Balance and coordination exercises can help reduce the risk of falls.
- Physical activity in later life may delay the progression of osteoporosis as it slows down the rate at which bone mineral density is reduced.
The Best Way to Exercise for Bone Health
Exercise can prevent many age-related changes and help reverse damage done to muscles, bones, and joints.
There is also evidence to suggest that twisting and rotational movements that pull on muscles where the joints attach (with care) is helpful in maintaining long-term health of the joints.
It’s never too late to start living an active lifestyle and enjoy the benefits.
Research suggests that two weight training sessions a week utilising body weight and gym equipment is optimal for building strong muscles and helping maintain bone mass.
These workouts do not need to be hard or with heavy equipment. A continual regime of appropriate exercises and a healthy diet are the keys to protecting your bone health, for life.
It is important to see your doctor about your own bone health. If necessary, your doctor will refer you to an appropriate medical professional.
If you don’t know where to start with exercises that assist with gaining strength, download my free Workout Guide for a Strong Body.
Have you checked your bone density? Do you check it regularly? What trend have you noticed? What do you do to increase your bone mass and health? Please share with our community!